Meet Martin Ssempa: Uganda’s leading bigot.

July 3, 2014

Since late in 2013, Uganda’s anti-gay law and its obsession with persecuting human beings for whom they fall in love with has created an odious atmosphere leading to a rocketing increase in attacks on the LGBT community in Uganda by over 750% on the previous year, according to ‘Sexual Minorities Uganda’.

It isn’t difficult to see how that atmosphere came to be. As well as Scott Lively and Rick Warren from the US using Uganda as test ground for how far they could inject their bigotry into a society, the Ugandan Cabinet includes rather grotesque sexual predators like Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity. Lokodo, speaking on the growing number of child abuse cases in Uganda, said:

“Ah, But it is the right kind of child rape. It is men raping girls and that is natural.”

– Here is a man in charge of “ethics”, a man that I trust none of us would want within 100 feet of our children. Lokodo isn’t the only one:

Meet Martin Ssempa.

Martin Ssempa is a Pastor in Uganda famed for playing gay porn in his Church sermons (the ‘eat the poo-poo’ guy in the video above) to highlight his distaste for homosexuality. Ssempa is not happy unless the entire country is chained to his religion, and punished according to its rules. His goal is to enshrine his particular beliefs into the social fabric, regardless of how ill-informed, and dangerous that might be (his life threatening stance on condoms is symptomatic of this). He believes that his personal religious beliefs – anchored to 1st century Palestine – must be forced upon the entire country. He is therefore a sadist, stealing the lives of others for his own gratification.

Martin Ssempa is active on social media, with which he uses to post child-like words of wisdom to gay rights activists:

ssempa1
– If this is what Uganda considers to be an intellectual powerhouse, capable of influencing their laws, they really do have a huge problem. Needless to say, Ssempa found justification for his inbuilt desire to control and harm the lives of others, in Christianity. According to Amnesty, and echoing ‘Sexual Minorities Uganda’:

“LGBTI people have faced a notable increase in arbitrary arrests, police abuse and extortion, loss of employment, evictions and homelessness, and scores have fled the country. At least one transgender person has been killed since the bill was signed, in an apparent hate crime.”

– Homelessness, abuse, extortion, frightening people into fleeing their homes, and murder; I don’t remember any of this advocated by Jesus in the Gospels or the writings of Paul. The early Christian community grew – according to Celsus – as a result of persecution drawing them closer together as a community. Today, Martin Ssempa promotes the very oppression that the early Christian community had to contend with.

On a scale comparable to the comment made by Lokodo, Ssempa – who seems to have no respect for individual liberty where it isn’t distinctly ‘Christian’ by his standards – compares intimate relationships between consenting and loving adults (a relationship that has absolutely nothing to do with him) to the enforcing of the non-consensual violation of basic human rights; female genital mutilation:

Ssempa2
– Leaving aside Martin Ssempa’s inability to understand the concept of love, in any meaningful sense, there’s an irony in his comment. Female genital mutilation is the result of the violent dictates of faith abusing the human rights of another to be free from those violent dictates, in much the same way that Uganda’s anti-gay law is the violent dictates of faith abusing the human rights of another to be free from those violent dictates. The freedom from being genitally mutilated, is the same freedom one has in order to be free from punishment and oppression if you happen to be gay. In both instances, no human being has an inherent right – including the state – to chain others to the beliefs of sex obsessed religious supremacists. Martin Ssempa and those who conduct female genital mutilation are of the exact same mindset.

He then goes on to misunderstand science (unsurprising, he’s a religious supremacist):

ssempa3
– Contrary to Ssempa’s assertion, the scientific community is fully aware that sexuality is a largely genetic natural spectrum with no single sexual orientation being “right” and another “wrong”. That isn’t how nature works. That’s how ideologies work. I wrote on the science of sexuality in response to Uganda’s rejection of basic science here and so wont go into detail again, but needless to say; Ssempa is entirely wrong. As I noted in the aforementioned article:

“The spectrum of sexuality is amoral. I have no more right to oppress the rights of a gay person, than a gay person has the right to oppress me. Heterosexual privilege is therefore not natural, it is ideological. Much like white supremacy is not natural, it is ideological.”

– Martin Ssempa would be well advised to understand how nature works (it doesn’t involve 1st century Jews rising from the dead), and how ideology works.

Ssempa then went on TV and explained in detail what he thinks gay women engage in:

“For woman what they do is they begin their sexual acts, because she does not have the equipment, they begin to use their lips… so the mouth is used to lick the other person that is number one, it creates gonorrhea. Men and lesbians have gonorrhea and oral syphilis.
“Number two, because they don’t have the equipment, they begin to use gadgets like bananas.”

– The shocking ignorance aside – and his inability to distinguish between sexuality, and having sex – one has to wonder why this man believes the sex lives of others, have anything to do with him. One has to wonder why the love lives of consenting adults, who have just as much right to enjoy their lives as the rest of us, has anything to do with this him. And that is the very essence of religious supremacy; the desire to control the private lives of others, by force. Martin Ssempa bizarrely presumes that by simply believing a certain tribal myth, he is entitled therefore to chain you and I to it. My liberty as a human, to pursue my own goals, to love according to my own conscience, and to enjoy my life, Martin Ssempa believes is his to own and control. It is the manifestation of a deeply controlling and dangerous man. His recognition in the country is the poison that creates an atmosphere in which persecution and oppression based on nothing but archaic stories, and the controlling nature of one man, flourishes. It isn’t a game. It causes hideous devastation to families and individuals.

Given the Church’s recent history of actual sex abuse, coupled with Uganda’s Christian Minister for Ethics discussing what he considers to be the “right kind of child rape”, it would seem prudent for people like Martin Ssempa – obsessed with sexual oppression – to perhaps look a little closer to home when discussing sexual ethics, before setting out to dehumanise and violently oppress those who have done no wrong, because it seems more than apparent to me that chaining sexual ethics to his faith, hasn’t worked out to well in the past.


Uganda’s ‘Red Pepper’ – defending the indefensible.

February 25, 2014

redpepperIn 2011, the unfathomably brave gay rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered in Uganda, after a newspaper in the country published his name and photograph and demanded his execution. In 2014, A day after Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda signed the anti-gay bill into law, the nations homophobic tabloid newspaper ‘Red Pepper’ launched a brand new witch hunt, by releasing a ‘top 200 homosexuals’ front page, designed to incite the same hate and violence toward the LGBT community in Uganda that led to the horrendous death of David Kato.

It is very difficult to reason with the mentality of people who, when asked why they care more about what two consenting adults do in their home, rather than the growing number of child abuse cases, said:

“Ah, But it is the right kind of child rape. It is men raping girls and that is natural.”

– Simon Lokodo. Uganda Minister for Ethics & Integrity. Here is a man who seeks to oppress the rights of the adult gay community, whilst championing the sexual abuse of children. That is the nature of the men who currently run Uganda. Men that shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children. And so it is perhaps futile to reason with them, but reason can be a powerful weapon and it is worth trying.

‘Red Pepper’ in their support for the anti-gay law, posted the warped and child-like reasoning of the President on their Twitter feed here:

redpepper
– I thought I’d address both points. Both points are of course primarily hateful rather than based on reason, and so even if the claims were true, would be no excuse for oppression and hate. But I wanted to focus on the points specifically, given that this is their attempt to defend the indefensible.

The second point is the easiest to dismiss. A state has no inherent right to abuse its citizens without consequence, in much the same way that a parent – let’s call that parent ‘Simon’ – does not have an inherent right to abuse his children without consequence, or without others stepping in to stop the abuse from continuing. The gay community in Uganda should not have to live in fear for their lives, or to have to live without the basic human need to express love and enjoy happiness, and they should absolutely be protected by the international community. It is not a ‘Western value’ to not oppress others. It is a universal right to be free from such vicious oppression. It should be considered far more important to defend that right, than it is to ‘respect’ a government’s decision to abuse that right. The Ugandan government does not own those people, it is not free to abuse and oppress the fundamental human rights of anyone. The rights of all should not be at the mercy of the religious dictates of anyone else. There is no inherently supreme sexuality that has the right to command others to do as they say. The spectrum of sexuality is amoral. I have no more right to oppress the rights of a gay person, than a gay person has the right to oppress me. Heterosexual privilege is therefore not natural, it is ideological. Much like white supremacy is not natural, it is ideological. The government of Uganda and Red Pepper are the abusive parent, endangering the lives of their citizens, simply for whom they fall in love with. It is ideological and nothing more. National borders – like the four walls of the home – do not change the oppressive and abusive nature of the ‘parent’. Uganda has legalised abuse, discrimination, and oppression based on supremacist ideals of one group. Completely absurd, dangerous, and unjustifiable.

On the second point, ‘Red Pepper’ and the President promoted the line of reasoning taken up by the sponsor of the bill, Ugandan MP David Bahati, who said that homosexuality was a:

“…behaviour that can be learned and can be unlearned”.

– This is of course, not based on reality, but on an attempt to enshrine Christian ‘values’ into law. It’s simply what Christian extremists would like to be true. We should be under no illusion that ‘Red Pepper’ or those who back the anti-gay law have any justification based on anything but tribal myths. As with most enforced religious morality, if human dignity, human rights, justice or reason conflict with those tribal myths, they are considered less valuable and to be oppressed. As with all ideologies that seek state power; there are always those who are considered less than equal. Whether it be Jewish people in a Fascist state, or gay people in a Theocratic state. The powerful in an ideology-drive state, will always oppress those who do not fit its dictates. In this case, the right of Christians to oppress, is given supremacy over the right of those who don’t fit its antiquated system of moral righteousness, to not be abused. This is indefensible.

Contrary to what ‘Red Pepper’ tweeted, the scientific community is fully aware that sexuality genetic natural spectrum with no one sexual orientation being “right” and another “wrong”. That isn’t how nature works. That’s how ideologies work. We know that sexuality is a spectrum echoed throughout the natural World. Since a review by Canadian researcher and biologist Bruce Bagemihl in 1999, it has been widely understood that at least 1,500 species have been shown to exhibit homosexual tendencies. At least 10% of the population of domesticated sheep, are exclusively homosexual. A study in London by M.J Cole noted that homosexual behaviour in Giraffes tends to be more common than heterosexual behaviour. The African Lion has been noted to have homosexual tendencies.

On human sexuality, A wonderful in-depth study by Binbin Wang et al, found that allele types differed greatly between homosexual men and heterosexual men. A further study by Sven Bocklandt et al, found that mothers of gay sons, have higher rates of extreme skewing of X-Chromosome inactivation, than those without gay sons.

Another study – and more recently – showed that a section of the X Chromosome called Xq28 influenced sexuality. The same is true of an area of chromosome 8. The theory being that genes in the region of Xq28 – passed from mother to son, and linked to sexual orientation – make women who carry them far more fertile, hence surviving the harsh realities of natural selection. Here is a further study that links genetic material passed down on the X Chromosome, to both homosexuality, and the fertility of the female. Study after study after study show that genetics plays a role in determining sexuality, that it isn’t a “behaviour”, it is a natural spectrum. To suggest otherwise, is both uneducated, and based solely on the advancement of an oppressive ideology.

Dr. Jerome Goldstein, Director of the San Francisco Clinical Research Center, says:

“Sexual orientation is not a matter of choice, it is primarily neurobiological at birth.”

– Goldstein continues:

“Using volumetric studies, there have been findings of significant cerebral amygdala size differences between homosexual and heterosexual subjects. Sex dimorphic connections were found among homosexual participants in these studies.”

In fact, there is not one reputable scientific source that will in any way suggest that sexuality is merely a ‘behaviour’ as suggested by the Theocrats in Uganda who seek to justify the unjustifiable. None. This includes:
The American Psychiatric Association, The World Health Organisation, The American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The Academy of Pediatrics, The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists Council on Child and Adolescent Health, The British Psychological Society, The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. All of these intensely reputable sources, with a wealth of research and evidence, will all tell you that sexuality, is part of a natural spectrum. There is no debate here. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists released a statement to:

“…clarify that homsexuality is not a psychiatric disorder. There is no sound scientific evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Furthermore, so-called treatments of homosexuality create a setting in which prejudice and discrimination flourish.”

– Further, Alfred Kinsey, the great biologist noted:

“Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.”

– This fundamental fact of nature is only ever opposed by those who seek to harm others. I cannot imagine how terrified gay individuals in Uganda must be right now. No one deserves to be abused, everyone deserves the right to love, and to pursue their own happiness, free from supremacist oppression based on any ideology. .

Therefore, both points promoted by ‘Red Pepper’ and President Museveni do not stand up to simple scrutiny. They exist only as a smokescreen to mask the true intent; to promote the supremacy of one ideology, and abuse and oppress those who don’t fit its violent and irrational dictates. It is a weak attempt to justify the inherent desire to control others, through abuse. This is echoed in the chilling comment on child abuse, by the horrendously named Minister for ‘Ethics and Integrity’.

Like an abusive parent full of excuses, the powerful in Uganda have given themselves the ‘right’ to abuse others. The international community should work to protect the LGBT community of Uganda from the extremists that wish them harm. That is the absolute right thing to do.


The Theocracy of Arizona.

February 24, 2014

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Visitor7.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Visitor7.

One can only imagine the outrage that would grip the Christian communities of the United States if signs across the businesses of the nation started appearing that insisted “Christians will not be served here”, or perhaps firefighters refusing to serve the needs of Christians in trouble, or teachers refusing to teach kids who identified as Christian. Screams of anti-Christian discrimination would take over Fox News and the World would be treated to hour after hour of journalists asking for Sarah Palin’s vacant opinion. And yet, this same discriminatory tone is exactly what the Christian-right in Arizona is attempting to force upon the LGBT community and non-religious folk in the state.

Arizona’s now infamous SB1062/HB2153 law allowing businesses to deny services to the LGBT community, passed by both the Republican controlled Arizona State Senate, and House is proving to be a disaster for the GOP. The response from Republicans in the State Legislature and beyond, has been almost as shameful as their willingness to pass such a vicious piece of Theocratic and bigoted legislation in the first place. It isn’t the targeting and dehumanising of gay people for discrimination – in a very Jim Crow like manner – that has bothered their conscience over the past couple of days; it has been the national and international attentional the state has received for the hideous Bill.

According to the Bill, religious freedom is only fully recognised if religious folk have the legalised right to oppress those they don’t particularly like, and deny those people equal rights. During the debate, Democrats tried to amend the Bill so as to not include firefighters and police (the fact that this was even up for debate, is horrendous in itself). Republicans voted against the amendment. As it stands, the Republicans in Arizona have revoked equal protection under the secular, constitutional law, if Christians don’t like them. Creeping Theocracy, framed as ‘religious freedom’. The same horrendous argument was used to permit an Arizonan constitutional amendment in 2008, banning same-sex marriage. Christians with the right to marry, restricting the same right for same-sex couples to marry, is hard to describe as anything other than Theocratic and a belief that Christianity must be considered supreme. It is the institutionalising of Christian ‘values’ above all others. The same is true for SB1062/HB2153. Christian supremacists in Arizona are targeting an unprotected group that they take great pleasure in oppressing, for the sake of further empowering their ideology, in much the same way that white supremacists took great pleasure in protecting their privilege by oppressing the rights of anyone with darker skin. Arizona’s Christian conservatives, have publicly set fire to the United States Constitution, and replaced it with Leviticus.

Republican State Sen. Steve Pierce – a man who voted to legalise anti-gay discrimination and enshrine Christian privilege into law – has decided he now hopes Gov. Jan Brewer will veto it. You may think he’s had a change of heart? You may think he now acknowledges that there is no fundamental right to oppress that overrides the right to equal protection and citizenship under the law. Perhaps he believes it is wholly wrong to institutionalise discrimination. Perhaps he’s accepted that Christians have no privileged right to decide who should be treated as a second class citizen based on sexuality, in much the same way that white Americans had no privileged right to decide who should treated as a second class citizen based on skin tone. Maybe Republican State Sen. Steve Pierce had a change of heart. Well, no. In explaining why he now opposes the Bill, Pierce said:

“I don’t like the negative picture of Arizona, and I’m on board asking the governor to veto the bill.”

– Steve Pierce is far more concerned about looking bad, and the negative attention that comes with legalising discrimination, than he is with legalised discrimination itself. Pierce then signed a letter, along with Senators Bob Worsley, and Adam Driggs.

“While our sincere intent in voting for this bill was to create a shield for all citizens’ religious liberties, the bill has instead been mischaracterized by its opponents as a sword for religious intolerance. These allegations are causing our state immeasurable harm.”

– Yes. It’s pointing out the theocratic and bigoted nature of the Bill that is the problem. Their complaint is that they aren’t allowed to discriminate in peace. Following the line of ‘a shield’ protecting all citizens’ religious liberties; if this bill were active in Texas, it would afford the right for a business owner of a member of the congregation of the Appleby Baptist Church in Nacogdoches – who believe in racial segregation based on the ‘curse of Ham’ – to place a ‘whites only’ sign in his shop window, and claim it on ‘sincerely held religious belief’.

I’m almost certain the same Republican state representatives don’t take issue with their salaries being partly funded by LGBT taxpayers, or the roads they drive on, or the state education their children receive, or the police protection they enjoy. Conveniently, I’m sure none of that violates their ‘sincerely held religious belief’.

But the State Republicans aren’t the only ones to provide awful responses to the controversy. Kristin Jarnagin, vice president of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association said:

“We have already lost untold amounts of tax dollars due to the negative perception that this legislation attaches to our state’s image, and the bill hasn’t even been signed into law yet.”

– Similarly, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council said:

“With major events approaching in the coming year, including Super Bowl XLIX, Arizona will be the center of the world’s stage. This legislation has the potential of subjecting the Super Bowl, and major events surrounding it, to the threats of boycotts.”

– Yes! That’s the problem! Tax dollars and the effect on a sporting event. Apparently bigotry is fine, if it doesn’t interfere with tourism. That’s what they seem to have decided is the problem. Not the further institutionalising of heterosexual privilege and legalisation of bigotry and bullying. Not the subtle message sent out that the rights of all non-Christians should be secondary to the rights of Christians, and dependent on the demands of those Christians. This legislation not only legalises discrimination against the LGBT community – and, well, anyone else that Christians decide they’re not too keen on – it tells the LGBT community and non-Christians that they are not to be considered equal citizens, will not be entitled the same rights as Christians, and that their right to equal citizenship and protection should be decided upon by Theocrats, on the basis of Biblical ‘morality’. It is the grotesque concept of the state recognising and establishing religious intolerance at the expense of equal rights. Completely anti-constitutional. It is the state placing the supremacy of the Bible, above the Constitution. It is the state creating two classes of citizen; the religious, and the non-religious, with the former to be given a privileged societal position above the latter. This is illegitimate and extremely dangerous religious (and so, Christian) supremacy, in much the same way as Jim Crow was illegitimate and extremely dangerous white supremacy.

It seems to be the case that conservative Christians struggle to identify the difference between being persecuted for their faith, and challenges to the supremacy of their faith. The latter, is not the same as the former. The Bill authorises persecution, for the sake of the supremacy of faith. A state based on the supremacy of one religion should be considered as vile and dangerous as a state based on the supremacy of one skin tone. It is vastly anti-secular, and vastly anti-American. It is a dehumanising bill that should offend all who value equality, human dignity, secular protections, and the Constitution. There is so much wrong with this Bill, and the response to it, that it’s difficult to know where to even begin.


ENDA: Civil Rights in the 21st Century.

November 6, 2013

enda, employment nondiscrimination act, usa, speaker boehner enda, house republicans enda, senate enda, politics

The importance of passing ENDA in one quote.

Two days ago, 61 Senators – including seven Republicans – voted to begin debate on the vital role of passing the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA).

ENDA; A bill that if passed in the coming days, would prevent workplace discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In short, the Bill ensures that workers should not feel scared that they might lose their jobs if their employer finds out (yup, it’s still taboo to be gay or transgender in the land of the free) that they happen to be in love with someone of the same gender as themselves, or happen to be transgender. It is a civil rights bill, an equality bill, a bill that levels the playing field. Which is why Republicans in the House oppose it.

Predictably, a Republican House that didn’t wish to reauthorise the Violence Against Women Act if it happened to cover LGBT couples and fought hard (though, ultimately failed) to prevent it passing appear to see ENDA as an opportunity to reiterate how much they dislike anyone who happens to be LGBT. The same heterosexual, male, anti-equality NO votes appear on every Senate roll call; Cruz, Paul, Lee, Rubio. A filibuster proof majority ensured the far-right in the Senate could not hold the country to ransom again.

That being said, despite the fact that ENDA will almost certainly pass the Senate, and has widespread support from the public (60% support ENDA), Speaker Boehner refuses to bring a vote to the House floor. Insisting:

“The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small business jobs.”

– Just analyse that quote for a second. Really take in what Boehner is saying here. The Speaker of the House has just referred to lawsuits against employers that threaten your livelihood, your income, your ability to pay your mortgage, or feed your family, or pay your bills, the heartache and bullying it perpetuates, based solely on your sexual orientation – which is absolutely none of their business, and does not affect your work – as “frivolous”. The act of firing someone based solely on their sexual orientation, the Republicans do not apparently see as “frivolous”, and in fact consider perfectly reasonable and legitimate. To take this logic to its ultimate conclusion, they must – if they are to be consistent – also support workplace discrimination when it is aimed at race, gender, and religion.

Ironically, this is the same House Speaker that has brought 48 frivolous anti-Affordable Care Act votes to the House Floor, and forced a frivolous government shutdown costing $24bn. I’m not entirely sure the Speaker of the House is in any position to be telling us what is and isn’t “frivolous”.

Not only that, but it isn’t true that litigation would increase. There is no evidence for that at all. In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office there are currently 22 States that have their own anti-discrimination policies. The GAO report concludes that between 2007-2012, of those 22 States:

“…there were relatively few employment discrimination complaints based on sexual orientation and gender identity filed in these states during this time period.”

– In other words, anti-discrimination policies work. Whether they are designed to level the playing field by working to end white supremacy, male supremacy, or heterosexual supremacy; they are not only morally right, they work.
But that is just 22 States. Texas, New Hampshire, West Virginia and 25 more States currently do not allow for protection against discrimination in the workplace, if you happen to be gay. So, not only can same-sex couples not get marriage in Texas…. they also can’t mention their partner incase their employer finds out and fires them. This is why ENDA is vital.

That being said, ENDA is not completely equality-oriented. Under ENDA, a religious organisation, or institution; including educational, can still proscribe LGBT people from holding office. A watered down ENDA Bill enshrines institutionalised bigotry, by suggesting that that bigotry is acceptable, if it is based on religious conviction; an exemption ensured by the voice of the Christian-right minority. ENDA doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a good start.

Secondly, Boehner’s statement says unequivocally that the ENDA would cost American jobs. How so? Surely having the option to fire someone based on their sexuality orientation rather than the quality of their work, is a jobs killer. Is Boehner willing to tell the majority of Fortune 500 companies that have non-discrimination policies, that they’re killing jobs? Boehner’s comment implies that discriminating against gay people actually has a positive effect on the economy. For Boehner, the measure of your success through the quality of your work, is less important than who you fall in love with. Hard work pays, but only if you’re straight. For some odd reason, Boehner seems to saying that being able to prevent qualified and talented people from being employed simply for being gay, grows an economy. It quickly becomes easy to see past the “economy! jobs” veil that the Republicans tend to place over their faces to mask their inherent religiously motivated dislike for anyone who isn’t exactly like them. And don’t be fooled, this is just another attempt to allow religion to dictate policy and the concept of rights.

Even if the Speaker’s claims were correct – that jobs were lost, and litigation increased due to ending workplace discrimination – it would not be a legitimate argument to perpetuate oppression and workplace bullying. Speaker Boehner has no credible argument for refusing to allow a debate and vote on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act.

When recently re-elected Republican Governor of New Jersey – and potential Republican Candidate for President in 2016 – Chris Christie was asked how he would respond to the news that one of his children was gay, Christie said:

“[If] my children came to me and said that they were gay, I would grab them and hug them and tell them I loved them, just like I would do with any of my children who came to me with news that they wanted to give to me that they thought were important enough to open themselves up in that way. But what I would also tell them is that Dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman. And that’s my position… And I know what [my child] would understand is that their father loves them, and that’s the most important thing.”

– What he essentially saying is: “I love you and everything, but I will continue to vote to uphold a system that made it difficult for you to come to me in the first place, and that will inevitably lead to discrimination and bullying against you in the future.” Whilst Christie isn’t willing to protect his children against bullying, fear and discrimination, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act currently passing through the Senate works to address those problems. It is of vital importance to the cause of civil rights and equality that a secular and democratic nation like the United States has fought since its conception to ensure.


The Blue Eyes of Saudi Arabia

September 14, 2013

Try to imagine for a second how you would react, how you would feel, and how every day would be for you and your family, if you were born with blue eyes, in a Country that not only viciously stigmatised those with blue eyes as an unforgivable perversion against nature, but that nation also tortured, and sometimes executed those caught with blue eyes.

Try to imagine, if the basis for the hate directed at you for having blue eyes, was a 7th Century book of myths. That, because that 7th century book of myths told a story of a city that God burnt to the ground for being full of people with blue eyes, even though that story has no basis in historical fact, you would forever be linked with the inhabitants of that city, and considered the enemy of God, regardless of the content of your character.

The Saudi Arabia UN Delegation made this plea to the UN earlier this year:

“Moreover, the Human Rights Council in last June condemned the Syrian regime on the violations of the Syrian people human rights. Any delay from the international community to take action means more suffering for the helpless Syrian people helpless.”

– It would seem from the rhetoric that Saudi Arabia cares deeply for applying international pressure for the sake of human rights. But it is quite simple to turn this Saudi call for action in Syria for human rights abuses, right back around to face Saudi Arabia itself. And the Delegation would be correct; any delay from the international community to take action in Saudi Arabia over its horrific record on human rights, means more suffering for the victims of the crime family that currently rules that country.

One simple paragraph from the Saudi Ministry of Education Textbooks for Islamic Studies: 2007-2008 offers a prime example of just why politically religious folk should never be allowed power over the apparatus of a State, nor over the lives of its inhabitants especially its children, in an enlightened World. The barbaric nature of their law:

“Homosexuality is one of the most disgusting sins and greatest crimes…. It is a vile perversion that goes against sound nature, and is one of the most corrupting and hideous sins…. The punishment for homosexuality is death. Both the active and passive participants are to be killed whether or not they have previously had sexual intercourse in the context of a legal marriage…. Some of the companions of the Prophet stated that [the perpetrator] is to be burned with fire. It has also been said that he should be stoned, or thrown from a high place.”

– It seems almost as if this is an attempt at an ironic art work. Because for a faith that believes their Prophet flew on a very fast magic flying horse to heaven and met Jesus, to claim to be able to speak confidently on anything pertaining to ‘sound nature’ is either an ironic art work, or the start of the most hypocritical speech in religious history. When it comes to the “unnatural”… religions have that one covered almost exclusively.

Either way, that one nasty paragraph – that completely misunderstands ‘sound nature’ – should be enough for those who profess to believe in the cause of social justice and human rights, to focus the majority of their time and efforts on freedom for Saudi Arabia. Currently, students are banned from school and university, if they are suspected of being gay. It isn’t just intense and violent homophobia today in Saudi Arabia that is the problem, it is the systematic attempts to instill into the vulnerable minds of children, that hate is acceptable. It is an attempt to poison those vulnerable minds with violent witchcraft and the acceptability of oppression rather than universal rights and biological fact.

For some odd reason, we do not treat this blatant abuse of the most fundamental rights, in the same way we would if we were to exchange the word “homosexuality” in the above, to “having blue eyes“. Both are part of a natural spectrum that we have no control over, and yet they are treated completely differently, despite being very similar. I would suggest that if the above paragraph from the Saudi Ministry of Education Textbooks were to specify punishment for those with blue eyes, instead of homosexuality, there would be far more outrage both for the country in question, and the faith that spawned it. Here:

“Having blue eyes is one of the most disgusting sins and greatest crimes…. It is a vile perversion that goes against sound nature, and is one of the most corrupting and hideous sins…. The punishment for persons with blue eyes, is death. Some of the companions of the Prophet stated that those with blue eyes are to be burned with fire. It has also been said that he should be stoned, or thrown from a high place.”

– This paragraph, if enshrined into a Nation’s law, should not shock us anymore than when it said Homosexuality, and yet I am certain that it would. The ‘companions of the Prophet’ would be ignored as a product of their time not to be taken seriously today. I am certain that the World would act to ensure that a scientifically as well as historically untrue basis for such a law, were thoroughly discredited and pressure exerted to ensure the law never made it to any statute book, as a grave abuse of basic human rights.

But, when it is applied to homosexuality, it is often dismissed as a “cultural” difference by cultural relativists whose respect for the dignity of life and individual rights, are not universally applied and must come second when considered alongside violent Theocratic considerations. Tradition seems more important than rights. As if tradition and ‘cultural differences’ are an acceptable excuse for the fact that in the year 2000, Saudi Arabia executed three Yemen men for what it deemed the:

“…obscenity of homosexuality and imitating women.”

– By ‘imitating women’, I’m guessing they don’t mean having to cover everything with the exception of hands and eyes, and another male having ‘guardianship’ rights over her, like a piece of property, nor married off to dirty old men at the age of 9.
In 2005 over 100 men were arrested and sentenced to flogging for:

“behaving like women.”

In 2002, three men were beheaded for being gay.
In 2007, two gay men were sentenced to 7000 lashes, for being gay.
– However we dress it up; this is torture and murder and it is a flagrant disregard for even the most basic of rights; to life itself. We cannot imagine the fear that gay men and women must face every day in Saudi Arabia. Religion does not prevent homosexuality, just like religion would not prevent blue eyes. Because religion has no explanation for nature. It has unsubstantiated, tribal myths, and nothing more. And when nature outgrows religious explanation, religion resorts to violently repressing nature, instead of looking inward and accepting it might be the faith that is flawed.

Gay Palestinian men often risk their lives fleeing into Israel, where they feel far safer and respected, than in the deeply illiberal, Theocratic Palestinian territories. According to a BBC World Service Outlook report, one man fled Gaza to Israel after his family found out that he was gay. The man said that police in Palestine had beat and tortured him.

In 2011, police in Afghanistan publicly humiliated a man dressed in women’s clothes. The victim is seen on film with eyes tearing up as the officers humiliate him. The man says:

“Please have mercy, don’t make fun of me.”

In 1998 in the southern town of Kandahar, the Taliban ordered three gay men buried, with their heads sticking out of the ground, and a wall pushed on top of them by a tank… for the crime of being gay.

The Iranian Constitution states:

“Sodomy is a crime, for which both partners are punished. The punishment is death if the participants are adults, of sound mind and consenting; the method of execution is for the Shari’a judge to decide.”

– Imagine the international backlash, if that Constitution noted that “having blue eyes is a crime“. This constitutional addition has lead to 4000 gay men and women stoned, hanged, beheaded, thrown alive from tall buildings, and set on fire, as legally sanctioned punishments for being gay in Iran. But, because the precedent is set in certain Hadith, for some odd reason it takes on a form of respectability and credibility that those who aren’t Muslim, seem to feel must be respected to a degree. Why? It isn’t acceptable, and the words and deeds of religious figures that give these punishments the life they have, are also completely unacceptable.
One Hadith in question is particularly grotesque and must be condemned as such:

“Narated By Abdullah ibn Abbas : The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.”

– If God creates people who happen to be gay, or who have blue eyes, and then demands stigmatising and punishment for those people, it is extremely problematic to label this God anything but a being that enjoys playing violent games with human lives, like rearing ants so that eventually you can point a ray of burning light through magnifying glass at them, and still demand that those tortured ants worship you for such ‘mercy’. This is a cruel Being with no redeeming features.

Secondly, there is no Qur’anic law or rule demanding the murder or torture of gay people (A similar thing cannot be said for the Bible). We could of course point to Sodom – in both the Bible & Qur’an – but, given that no evidence has ever surfaced to suggest this story is based in fact; it’d be like using Narnia for evidence that kids and lions make excellent rulers. And so if any law comes from the (completely unsubstantiated; as all Hadith are) words or deeds of the Prophet, I’m afraid those Muslims who endorse such man made laws, that in no way relate to the Qur’an, are guilty of a sort of idol worship, which of course is a grave sin for that particular faith. It is only through completely unreliable Hadith – reflecting the prejudices and scientific, and social ignorance of the time and place, along with the imperial structure of that particular time and place in history – that gay men and women in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations are persecuted so horrifically.

Whilst every move Israel makes is remarked upon, condemned, and watched with an unmovable eye from both Western Muslims, and a vast portion of those on the Galloway-Left whose ‘cultural relativist’ position is strangely less active when it involves Israel; the most vile regime in Saudi Arabia quietly carries out public lashings, torture and executions of anyone who doesn’t fit its very narrow vision of what it’s 7th Century book demands, with very little real anger from the rest of the World.

My position is quite simple. If your religious text claims universal and timeless truth, upon which it advocates death for any natural trait, be it homosexuality, or blue eyes… your religious text should not be taught to children, should not be allowed to influence policy, should be criticised, shamed, and satirised at every possible opportunity, and deserves not a single shred of respect. Any Nation that puts that text into political practice, must be the focus of united international condemnation from those who claim to have even an ounce of respect for the dignity of human rights and social justice. There is no acceptable excuse for the torture, and murder of anyone with blue eyes.


Communism and Homosexuality

July 19, 2013

The gay marriage bill passed the House of Lords successfully this week, effectively legalising marriage for same-sex couples in the UK. For most of us, this is a wonderful step forward for human progress and equality. For a select melodramatic few, the World is about to end. One of the many charges against those who support same-sex marriage, is…. well… I’ll allow these people to gleefully inform you:

commie
gay
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Article here.

So, I thought I’d write on the subject of Communism, and homosexuality, in order to dispel this – easy to dispel – right winged myth, that same sex marriage, can in any way, be linked to Communism. As it turns out, a lot has been written on the Soviet Union and homosexuality, and rather in depth the subject is too. So I will briefly summarise the research here.

We must of course cast ourselves back to the very foundation of the concept of Communism, and its founders, to base our understanding of Communism and Homosexuality. The 19th century that Karl Marx inhabited was a very homophobic century, and this homophobia didn’t escape Communists of the time. Actually, much of the complaints of modern day homophobes on the Right – conspiracy against the State – can be found in the writings of early Communist. Engels himself linked homosexuality, with paedophilia – a tactic used by both Stalin in the 1930s, and today on the right wing – as a reason to discriminate heavily against the gay community. On June 22, 1869, Engels wrote to Marx:

“That is really a very odd ‘Urning’ you just sent me. Those are just unveilings being extremely against nature. The pederasts begin counting themselves and find that they are forming a power within the state. Only an organisation was missing, but according to this it seems to be already existing in the secret. And as they are counting so important men within all the old parties and even in the new ones, from Rösing to Schweitzer, their victory is inevitable. ‘Guerre aux cons, paix aux trous de cul’ it will go now. It is only a luck that we personally are too old to have to fear, this party gaining victory, to have to pay bodily tribute to the victors. But the young generation! By the way, only possible in Germany that a guy like that appears, translates the dirt into a theory and invites: introite, and so on. ”

– Here, Engels is talking about Karl Ulrichs, the early gay rights pioneer. Ulrichs sent a letter to Marx asking for support from the Communists. Marx asked Engels for his opinion. Engels writes back rather unequivocally. The word ‘urning’ in the opening sentence, is a word meaning the body of a man with the mind and lusts of a woman; a man attracted to other men. ‘Against nature’, ‘forming a power within the state’, ‘existing in secret’, ‘translates dirt into a theory’. The homophobic diatribe by Engels is reminiscent of 21st Century conservatives like the blogger above who is convinced same-sex unions are a coup by a well organised group to destroy the state as we know it.

Whilst homosexuality was technically legalised in the early Soviet Union (not purposely, but as a result of the overturning of all Tsarist laws), it only applied to Russia itself. The nations surrounding Russia, within the Soviet Union had extremely strict anti-homosexuality laws. There was no big Communist push to liberalise sexuality. There was no suggestion that homosexuality could be used to destroy Western civilisation, that it was an intrinsic materialist device to overthrow Capitalist society. In fact, homosexuality was a crime in Azerbaijan, in Turkmenistan, in Uzbekistan. In 1930, only 13 years after the founding of the Soviet Union, a Soviet medical official named Sereisky penned the Soviet’s new stance on homosexuality:

“Soviet legislation does not recognize so-called crimes against morality. Our laws proceed from the principle of protection of society and therefore countenance punishment only in those instances when juveniles and minors are the objects of homosexual interest … while recognizing the incorrectness of homosexual development … our society combines prophylactic and other therapeutic measures with all the necessary conditions for making the conflicts that afflict homosexuals as painless as possible and for resolving their typical estrangement from society within the collective.”

– The passage here officially condemns homosexuality as a crime against morality, that it is a threat to children, and that it is outside the realms of civilised society, whilst stopping short of full criminalisation. As it happens, this demonisation of homosexuality was a precursor for the next phase in Soviet sexual repression.

Three years later, in 1933, Article 121 was added to the Soviet penal code within Stalin’s Soviet Union. The Article stated that:

“sexual relations between men are punishable by prison terms of up to five years.”

– This law lasted another sixty years, with ten people imprisoned in 1992 for homosexual relations. Originally, Stalin introduced Article 121 in order to give credit to the idea that homosexuality, was actually a Fascist plot. Just before his death, Soviet cultural writer Maxim Gorky wrote:

“”In a country in which the proletariat rules courageously and successfully, homosexuality, which depraves the youth, is recognized and punished as the antisocial crime that it is, while in the so-called cultivated countries /…/ it occurs freely and unchecked. Already, a sarcastic proverb has been devised: Eradicate homosexuality and you will eliminate fascism.”

– Of course, Gorky left out the part in which upon coming to power, Hitler rounded up homosexual men and threw them into concentration camps, but it suited his narrative, and Soviet homophobic propaganda, not to mention that. Isn’t it ironic that the same arguments employed by the far right today, were used almost identically by the far left almost a century ago; both are guilty of the social abuse of a minority in order to advance their own ideological agenda.
We also see Gorky using the commonly used tactic; fear for the future of your children. We’ll come back to this a little later.

After Stalin’s death, Kruschev repealed many of the anti-liberalisation laws of the Stalin era, including anti-abortion laws, anti-divorce laws…. but he didn’t repeal the anti-homosexuality laws. Those remained in place. He was afraid that the prisoner-like sexual mentality would infect the rest of the population. Suddenly, in less than a year, the very top of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union went from mistakenly linking homosexuality to paedophilia, to linking homosexuality to forced prison-like sex. The anti-homosexuality rhetoric and action were so repulsive, it is only matched by the repulsive attitudes toward homosexuality coming from the right wing today. For example, the Stalinist (and Engels) line that homosexuality and paedophilia are linked, has been appropriated in recent times, by the US Christian Right. Here, Pat Robertson tells us that gay marriage, will lead to the legalisation of paedophilia:

“How about child molestation and paedophilia? How can we criminalise these things and at the same time have constitutional amendments allowing same sex marriage? You mark my words, this is just the beginning in a long downward slide in relation to all the things that we consider to be abhorrent.”

– Pat Robertson seems to be employing the Stalinist ‘crimes against morality’ logic with linking homosexuality to paedophilia, alongside a staggering slippery slope fallacy. It is exactly the arguments put forth by Communists within the Soviet Union, in the 1930s.

Similarly, Michael Savage, US Radio DJ said:

“You’ve got to explain to the children … why God told people this was wrong. You have to explain this to them in this time of mental rape that’s going on. The children’s minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia, that’s my position. They’re raping our children’s minds.”

– The protection of children, as mentioned above, has been a key rhetorical device used by the homophobic for decades. You must fear for your child’s future if homosexuality is allowed to persist… is the cry of the bigot. Not only did Stalin, Sereisky, and Gorky dubiously tie homosexuality with child molestation, but the right wing now appears to have taken that argument and made it their own. Like the ‘crimes against morality’ line that links both Soviet Communists, and modern day conservatives, the argument that we must fear for our children’s safety, because of homosexuality, is also a direct link between Soviet Communists, and modern day conservatives.

Whilst homosexuality was criminalised in 1933 between two men, it wasn’t criminalised between two women. Instead, gay women were referred to psychiatrists, who in turn, had then committed for three months. During that time, drugs were often tested on young gay women, followed by the forced signing of the mentally ill register, rendering any possibility of a good career, a driving licence, and happy life, almost impossible. This practice ended, as late as 1988, though still proceeded in many provinces.

One only has to look at the repression of homosexuality in Russia today, to understand the development historically of a very homophobic nation.

In fact, Homosexuality was only removed from the list of Russian mental disorders, in 1999. Homosexuality, in Communist China was not decriminalised until 1997, and considered a mental illness until 2002.
In the USA, the great gay rights activist Harry Hay was thrown out of the Communist Party, because the Communist Party did not allow gay people to be members.
Nepal’s Maoists are still very anti-homosexuality, and repression of Nepals LGBT rights advocates, is widespread.
Dev Gurung, the Maoist Minister of Justice for the Communist Party in Nepal, offered a mirrored image of right winged insistences that Communism and Homosexuality are intrinsically linked, with this little gem of melodrama:

“Under Soviet rule there were no homosexuals in the Soviet Union. Now that they are moving towards capitalism, homosexuals may have arisen there as well. So homosexuality is a product of capitalism. Under socialism this kind of problem doesn’t exist.”

– So you see, the same tired arguments are thrown from the fringes of the right and left, putridly degrading a minority, perpetuating discrimination and hate based on nothing of any substance, to promote an ideological standpoint.

Communists regimes were among the most repressive in history, toward homosexuality.

The repression of homosexuality throughout the Soviet Union, and by Communists in general was widespread throughout its history. Thousands were imprisoned for decades, many more were brutally beaten and murdered simply for being gay. This is what happens when you not only criminalise and work hard to stigmatise a biological trait (be it sexuality, gender, or race) but you base an entire social system upon patriarchy, or Theocracy, or the supremacy of one race above all others. A system of privilege for those who wrongfully think themselves the rightful rulers of civilised society based on no valid reasoning, develops into a system of repression against those who don’t fit its narrow band of what is decent and correct. To defend this system, the same fallacious arguments are thrown around, usually in an attempt to induce fear within a population. Defend homophobic, racist, patriarchy… otherwise God will punish you, and your children will be in danger! They scream ‘agenda!’ at every possible turn; the ‘abolitionist agenda’, the ‘feminist agenda!’, the ‘gay rights agenda!’, as if those are to be viewed negatively, rather than positive strides toward equality and an end to discriminatory, regressive consciousness. They insist the government is under attack, they play on the fears of danger to children. And it is the same today. 21st Century Conservatives; in a show of intense irony, those who claim the mantle of freedom and individual liberty, are the most repressive defenders of systems of privilege in the 21st century.


Battle for Virginia: The Cuccinelli Plague.

July 9, 2013

Ken Cuccinelli. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Gage Skidmore.

Ken Cuccinelli.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Gage Skidmore.

By 2014 the Republican Party will have had two years following the Presidential defeat, to reposition their party as more inclusive of the demographics that voted overwhelmingly against them in 2012. As of July 2013, the Republicans have simply continued their war on immigrants, the poor, gay rights, and most notably, on women. And so it is those groups that will provide the strength to knock the Republicans from key positions in late 2013, and 2014.

My next few articles will focus on some key battlegrounds in the fight to turn America blue.

Virginia is one such place.

In November 2013, Virginia will head to the polls to elect a new Governor. Moderates have a choice, they can choose to vote for Democratic nominee, and ex DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe; a moderate himself. Or they can choose to elect the Republican nomination, current Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli.

Ken Cuccinelli is your typical Tea Party style Republican, dedicated to nothing more than rolling back gay rights, rolling back employee rights, and attempting to ensure that safe access to abortion disappears from Virginia. He has fought on this basis for quite some time.
Recently Cuccinelli worked to force abortion clinics to upgrade to hospital level, thereby threatening the existence of abortion clinics in Virginia. This is a common GOP tactic in restricting access to abortion. Cuccinelli provided support for his particular war on women, with a speech that completely rewrote history:

“Start right at the beginning – slavery. Today, abortion. History has shown us what the right position was, and those were issues that were attacked by people of faith aggressively to change the course of this country.”

– Yes. The Attorney General of Virginia compared abortion to slavery. The enslavement, vicious beatings, forced labour, abuse, rapes of a people based solely on the shade of their skin….. Cuccinelli compares to abortion. He also seems to be unaware of the split in Christendom in the US during the antebellum period on the issue of slavery. People of faith both supported, and opposed slavery. They certainly weren’t united. Maryland’s “Society of Jesus” owned slaves and heavy handedly put them to work. And despite the official anti-slavery position of the Methodist Church; Southern Methodist church’s continued to support slavery even after the civil war. Cuccinelli is entirely wrong to suggest Christianity was responsible for the end of slavery. Christian propaganda is a wonderful tool wielded by the Christian Right.

On gay rights, Cuccinelli wishes to ensure that gay people have few protections and rights as possible, stating:

“It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ or like classification, as a protected class within its nondiscrimination policy, absent specific authorization from the General Assembly.”

Along with women, and gay people, Cuccinelli also isn’t too keen on reality. Ken Cuccinelli believes himself to be correct, and practically every reputable scientist on the planet to be incorrect, when it comes to climate change. So much so, that upon taking office in 2010, he filed a lawsuit requiring the Environmental Protection Agency overturn its ruling that greenhouse gases endanger public health. Of course, the case failed. He then …. and i’m not making this up…. mocked the EPA by suggesting everyone hold their breath for a minute to prevent release of carbon dioxide to please them. That is the extent of the potential Governor of Virginia’ understanding of rising Co2 levels.
He then attempted to launch a fraud investigation against a scientist at the University of Virginia. The District Court, followed by the Supreme Court threw his case out.
His one man political crusade against reality prompted the University of Virginia to state:

“His action and the potential threat of legal prosecution of scientific endeavor that has satisfied peer-review standards send a chilling message to scientists engaged in basic research involving Earth’s climate and indeed to scholars in any discipline. Such actions directly threaten academic freedom and, thus, our ability to generate the knowledge upon which informed public policy relies.”

The Washington Post stated that Cuccinelli had:

“….declared war on the freedom of academic inquiry”

– Though, Cuccinelli’s position on climate change hasn’t been completely negative for him. During the first four months of 2013, he managed to raise over $2,500,000 for his campaign, mainly from gas and oil interests. That should certainly strengthen his anti-climate change position.

Cuccinelli’s current war, is on…… again, not making this up……. oral and anal sex.
Perhaps he thinks it’ll speak to a Virginian sense of heritage given that in the founding years of the nation, the Virginia legislature decided death was the appropriate penalty for “sodomy”. (Though, Thomas Jefferson did try to commute this to the much more liberal-minded punishment of castration).
All ‘Sodomy’ laws were scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2003. In Virginia, the law broadly criminalised oral as well as anal sex. Ten years later, the potential Governor of Virginia wants the law upheld. He insists that his new idea for Sodomy laws would only involve cases of rape and minors. And yet, in 2004 when a bipartisan group of State Senators proposed a similar law, Cuccinelli voted against it. Just how far Cuccinelli can be trusted in not prosecuting consenting adults, can possibly be deduced from a 2009 speech in which he states:

“My view is that homosexual acts — not homosexuality, but homosexual acts — are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country, it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that … They don’t comport with natural law

– Seems to me that Cuccinelli wishes to criminalise homosexuality. And this man is running for public office… not in 1950. But in 2013.

Cuccinelli is also a ‘Right-To-Work’ supporter; despite a recent ‘National Education Association’ study finding that:

“worker-friendly states are significantly healthier, are more productive, have less poverty, and with citizens who enjoy longer life spans. In four of the seven measures (GDP per capita, poverty, insurance and life expectancy rates) so-called “right-to-work” states come out significantly (and statistically) worse.

These findings have broad policy implications in those states where lawmakers are wrongly considering RTW measures, and should inform the good efforts of union members and allies to quell those efforts. Instead of pursuing laws that actually lower the standard of living in their states, policy makers should look for ways to elevate everyone’s standard of living. Enacting RTW laws is not only misguided, but in fact counterproductive to achieving such ends. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right to work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works’.”

– Like with climate change, Cuccinelli is ignoring the facts on what actually works to provide a better standard of living for Virginians. He ignores facts, in order to progress a far right, damaging agenda. He is not a rational man. He is an extreme ideologue.

So you can see, a typical Tea Party-esque politician that cannot be trusted with an ounce of power. He cannot be trusted with women’s health and women’s freedom issues, he cannot be trusted with gay rights issues, he cannot be trusted to stay out of your sex life, and he cannot be trusted with free inquiry and scientific advancement. For McAuliffe to win (he currently trails in the polls), those inclined to vote Democrat, or those that consider themselves moderate, must come out in force on election day. It is the only way to defeat a very right winged, very anti-women, very anti-gay rights, very anti-science Tea Party extremist straight from the 1950s. His statements and lawsuits as Attorney General are bad enough. As Governor, Ken Cuccinelli would be a disaster for Virginia.

I hope that in November 2013, Virginia turns blue.


Republican Round-up

July 6, 2013

Every week, the extremes of the Republican Party just wont go away. Like a christmas gift you really dislike. You didn’t ask for it, but you can’t take it back, or if you did take it back, you’d get home, and it’d be sat on your kitchen table, to your utter horror. There has been a spectacular array of irritating headlines on offer from the Grand Old Party this week. Here is a quick summary of five of those stories, that caught my attention:

Sex Education is for Soviets:
Louie Gohmert (R-TX) isn’t a stranger to over the top, strange statements to back up political points, as we see with his statement on gun control:

And I pointed out, well, once you make it ten, then why would you draw the line at ten? What’s wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is once you draw that limit ; it’s kind of like marriage when you say it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not somebody has a love for an animal?

There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage and it’s the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it’s just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal.

– He managed, effortlessly, to link a slippery slope gun control, to a same-sex marriage slippery slope. That’s impressive by any Republican standard. Not least because it contains two fallacies rolled into one. Both his arguments are the equivalent of: “Well you eat chicken meat, so why not eat human meat?” … completely absurd.

But Gohmert’s obsession with sex didn’t end there. This week he made more wondrous statements, this time on the subject of sex education:

“Mankind has existed for a pretty long time without anyone ever having to give a sex-ed lesson to anybody,”

– This could be used to restrict progress in any subject known to man. Mankind existed for years with slavery, so why not reinstate it? Mankind existed for thousands of years without airplanes and cars, so let’s scrap them. Progress is defined by moving from a primitive stage to a more enlightened stage of human existence. Sex-education, according to Gohmert is fine as it is. It’s not necessary to educate our children. I mean, it isn’t like we’ve had millennia of Patriarchy, sexual oppression, with growing numbers of sexually transmitted diseases whilst an old white man’s womb controlling Republican Party continues to push anti-women sentiment, anti-homosexuality sentiment, anti-contraception sentiment, anti-transgendered sentiment, that absolutely leads to sexual discrimination and bullying in school and beyond and perpetual patriarchy. That’s never happened. Why would we need to educate children away from primitive ideas on sex? Thanks Gohmert.

He goes on to inform us about the time he spent in the Soviet Union:

“I was shocked when they were saying ‘no, the children don’t belong to parents, they belong to the state.’ And if any parent said anything in front of their children negative about the wonderful Soviet Union, then we will take their children away and give them to somebody more deserving. And I just thought how horribly shocking that was, that of course parents were the ones who love the children, not the state. And I thought thank God that we don’t have that in our country.”

– Here, he suggested that sex-ed takes responsibility away from the parents, and places it in the hands of the State. I’m not sure why this only applies to sex-ed, and not, say, geography? And there is no comparison. The purpose of sex-ed is to ensure children have all the available information on their bodies, on contraception, on relationships, on their developments, on the risks and so on. It is not the purpose of sex-ed to take children from their parents, if their parents criticise the President.

The Republican Party: The Party of Poverty.
In my previous article I noted the damage inflicted upon the most vulnerable, when Republicans are in control of the State. In it, I point out:

In Mississippi, child poverty rates are at a shocking 32%, one child or teenager is shot and killed every single week, and infant mortality is higher than anywhere in the country. This, as well as around 60,000 uninsured people living in Mississippi, and yet, Republicans in the State have decided to tackle all of these problems…….. by harshly regulating abortion inducing pills, whilst attempting to make it easier to carry a gun in public.

– Not to be outdone, North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory will sign off on a plan to strip 71,000 long term unemployed people of their unemployment checks. This comes after cutting weekly unemployment benefits by 35%, and repealing an important tax credit for families on the lowest incomes. The extraordinary move to the economic far right was enabled after the Republicans won both chambers of the General Assembly and the Governorship.

This is all possible, because the moment Governor McCrory was elected, the new official appointed Art Pope as State Budget Chief. It’s no great leap to see how the libertarian Pope managed to secure this position, given that, according to The Institute for Southern Studies, Pope (through groups linked to himself) spent $2.2 million on winning 18 out of 22 legislative battles in North Carolina in 2010, spending three quarters of all spending by independent groups in the State that year. The Governor thanked him, by giving Pope free reign to attack whomever he wished; Punishing those who lost their jobs during the recession, further immiserating the lives of the most vulnerable, North Carolina’s Republicans are really trying to challenge Mississippi’s as the winning poverty State. A State that is now privately owned by Art Pope.

On the subject of North Carolina, lawmakers in the State are currently working to suppress minority voting, after the Supreme Court killed the voting rights act. Their proposals include an end to early voting, same-day registration, and a new provision requiring I.D at the polls. All methods to harshly and disproportionately affect African American voters in North Carolina, who tend to vote Democrat.

The GOPs horrifying War on Women:
In a previous article I referred to a number of attacks over the years on women, committed by GOP lawmakers in their continued war on women. This week, Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker took it one step further. Walker signed into law a Bill that forces a woman who wishes to have an abortion, to have a transvaginal ultrasound, for no medical purpose, whether they want it or not. Walker is quite literally asking for Republican politics to be inserted into a woman. Talia Frolkis, a young pro-choice activist in Wisconsin said:

“That’s part of the reason this is so important to me. It is a violation. It is unnecessary penetration, and for some women who are seeking abortions because they’ve been violated already, it’s just going to repeat the trauma.”

– The anti-women attacks by the Republican Party are becoming darker by the day. They are a Party that believe it less intrusive to insist on a vaginally probing a rape victim, than checking the credentials of would-be gun owners. Nothing says “small government” like a Republican Governor insisting that pregnant women have a piece of metal inserted into them without their full approval. Every time a woman in Wisconsin is forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound without medical reason, and without her actually wanting to undergo it….. Scott Walker and the Republicans of Wisconsin should be guilty in all of our eyes of sexual assault.

Beware, the ‘Rabid Radical Homosexual Activist Movement’.
Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, E.W Jackson is angry this week that his comments on homosexuality have been taken out of context. To recap, in the past Jackson said:

“Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality. When they talk about love they’re not talking about love, they’re talking about homosexual sex.”

“Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of… It’s an authoritarian, totalitarian spirit.”

– Usually, ambiguity leads to words being taken out of context. The “their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people” and “Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons families, it destroys culture” lines don’t scream ambiguity to me. So, we should really see why Jackson believes his words were taken out of context, and what he really meant. I’m sure we’ll all be surprised by his declarations of love, and compassion:

“I don’t believe that there’s any second-class citizens in Virginia. I don’t treat anybody any differently because of their sexual orientation. But I do think that the rabid, radical homosexual activist movement is really trying to fundamentally change our culture and redefine marriage and do a number of things that I just think are not good at all.”

– In essence, what he’s done here, is cloaked his inherent homophobia behind more creative – but just as unambiguous – language. He’s rephrased the words that were ‘taken out of context‘ to appear less brutal on the surface. He has clearly been told “probably don’t say words like ‘poison’ and ‘they’re frankly very sick’ “. And so he’s omitted the blatantly vicious rhetoric, with slightly more subtle but equally as vicious rhetoric.

In the past, Jackson has suggested that Medicaid is worse than slavery, that LGBT rights groups are worse than the KKK and that President Obama has “Muslim sensibilities“. In summary, E.W Jackson should not be allowed anywhere near a position of power.

Can’t win on merit? Say something that no one has any interest in hearing:
Alison Lundergan Grimes, Democratic Secretary of State of Kentucky has a tough road ahead of her if she is to beat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Senate race. McConnell is ruthless, he’s very wealthy, and very negative. He is not a good person. As noted in a previous article, McConnell is loyal to the interests of big business and those who donate to his considerable wealth. In it, I note:

“A couple of years back, McConnell attacked Democrat attempts to prevent foreign companies from financing US public figures and elections. He claimed laws already exist to stop this from happening. He of course failed to mention that existing laws do not prevent foreign corporations with US subsidiaries from channelling money to preferred candidates. This omittance shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, given that McConnell, from 2005 to 2010, received around $21,000 from BAE Systems Inc. BAE Systems Inc is a US subsidiary of the World’s 2nd largest defence contractor, BAE Systems, based in the UK. In 2010, McConnell asked for $17,000,000 of Federal funds to be earmarked for BAE defence improvements, at the exact same time as BAE was under State Department investigation for alleged widespread corruption (including the bribery of public officials). Of course, any link between McConnell’s apparent passion for outspokenly opposing campaign finance regulation from foreign companies who are under investigation for bribing public officials, at the same time as one of them is funding his own campaign – and in fact funding the Mitch McConnell Centre at the University of Louisville to the tune of $500,000 through a subsidiary – is just speculation.”

– Though, McConnell, as of April was only leading Grimes by 4 points according to Public Policy Polling, he is likely to pull out all the dirty tricks at his disposal to make sure he retains his long held seat for the State of Big Business Kentucky. And he’s already begun. Soon after Grimes announced her plans to run against McConnell, his team released this video. Perhaps it might contain his policy plans? Perhaps it might contain his record in office working for Kentuckians? No. Instead, it attacks Grimes, already, for not having a campaign banner and, oddly, having no air conditioning in the room.

Grimes not having air conditioning, pales in comparison to McConnell’s very dirty tricks McConnell has used to ensure Federal dollars keep flooding into the pockets of his donors. McConnell lead all but five Senators, in 2012, to kill the Veteran’s jobs bill, designed to provide training and jobs to Veterans. Similarly in 2012, McConnell lead a Senate filibuster movement to block the “Repeal Big Oil Subsidies Act”, an Act that offers tax breaks to big oil, to the tune of $24bn. Unsurprisingly, McConnell received $131,500 from oil donors in Midland, Texas.
I hope the Grimes team can make issue out of where exactly Mitch McConnell’s loyalties lie.

The Republican platform can be summed up thusly: Those without money have too much and need less. Those with money have too little and need more. Every policy can be attributed to that summation of Republican ideals. The GOP war cry of “Take back America” is sounding more and more like “Take back America….. by about 60 years” every day.


Bad Day for Bigots III: DOMA Struck Down.

June 26, 2013

Cheers rang out across America today. Firstly, the wonderful filibuster in the Texas State Senate by Senator Wendy Davis, defeating the anti-women bill, and secondly, the Supreme Court has just struck down The Defence of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, 17 years after President Clinton signed it into law. Most recognise the incredible step forward for human equality and progress and the right to love that SCOTUS has affirmed today. Predictably, certain people were not too pleased with the ruling. I thought I’d post some of my favourite right winged meltdowns from the World of social media. And what better place to start than Fox News:

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– This overly dramatic nonsense is brought to you by Fox News’ Todd Starnes, who seems to be under the impression that his definition of ‘God’ has the right to legislate, in a secular democracy. Not only that, but he seems to be complaining, whilst completely clean shaven. This of course being in direct contradiction – or, direct overruling – of God’s law found in Leviticus 19:27. Theocrats tend to ignore Biblical rules not pertaining to discriminating against same-sex couples.

Here are a few of my favourite post-DOMA freakouts:

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– “Becoming Sodom and Gomorrah” (a place that didn’t actually exist) needs to be added to my list of terrible things same-sex marriage will lead to according to conservatives. This list so far includes; marrying your duck, marrying your computer, a lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir, and a US radio DJ vomiting continuously.

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– Another that relies on a Christian interpretation only of the word ‘marriage’. So culturally narrow, and so wrong to impose this one religious concept of marriage on a secular nation. Marriage, of course, has many different definitions throughout history (as I note here). Enshrining a Christian definition only, institutionalising a Christian understanding of marriage, completely shatters the wall between Church and State, and could not be any more anti-constitutional if it tried. Theocracy is not an American value.

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– Massive population losses? Because heterosexual people will all now decide they’re gay?

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– Are the Supreme Court Justices not aware that we should be basing all rational discourse on dust man and rib lady myths? If not, why not?

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– As well as dust man and rib lady myths, why aren’t the Supreme Court framing law around principles of IKEA furniture assembly?

This guy is entertaining all by himself. He appears to be having a homophobic meltdown. One of those “he’s protesting a lot…… perhaps he has something to hide” sort of meltdown:
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And he continues, in a somewhat more flirtatious style:
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– Southern States were pretty overruled in the 1860s too. Are we going to suggest that shouldn’t have been the case? Institutional bigotry is acceptable, if the majority who benefit from it say so? Really? Denying equality under the law based on biological differences like race, or gender, or sexuality, is not a States Rights issue. Conservatives do not get to decide the superiority of one race, or gender, or sexuality. Permitting the same rights that they themselves have always enjoyed, to another group, takes nothing away from their rights. And of course, the repeal of DOMA simply means States now rule on same sex marriage. So, a victory for States Rights as well as equality.

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– Yes! Exactly! You must be exactly what you support. Support women’s suffrage? You must be female. Are you pro-life? You must be a fetus! Support 1960s civil rights movement? You must be a racial minority. Support funding for NASA? You must be an astronaut! That’s how supporting things works.

Here’s a few more overly dramatic, end times tweets to enjoy:

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And my absolute favourite of them all:
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From the bigoted, to the ridiculous, to the incredibly funny, we see that progression, is still met with mind blowing overly dramatic, conservative meltdowns. We should check back with them in a years time to note if any of their marriages have failed due entirely to same-sex marriages, or if Jesus has returned, wrapped in a Confederate flag, unleashing end times on California. Naturally, God will take revenge through right winged commentators, insisting that perfectly natural weather cycles are actually His wrath.

Today is a wonderful day, for liberal, progressive, secular, Constitutional America. It is a wonderful day, for the battle for equality, and natural human rights. But it is a terribly bad day for bigots.

For ‘Bad Day for Bigots’ part I, click here. For Part II, click here.


A list of things gay marriage leads to….

June 23, 2013

When it becomes very clear that rational argument and debate is over; when one side has clearly won, the other side has two choices. Firstly, they can give up. They can admit defeat, and move on. Their argument wasn’t strong enough, the facts were not with them. The right thing to do, is to admit this. Secondly, they can choose to become hysterical. This is usually accompanied by presenting prejudice as factual. Conservatives, when it comes to the same-sex marriage debate have lost the argument. And so, they choose the latter option. They become hysterical. Fallacy after fallacy is employed. We are treated to their creative ingenuity on quite a spectacular level when attempting to present prejudice as factual. Allow me to summarise their creative arguments against same-sex marriage, and what legalising marriage for same-sex couples will inevitably lead to in the minds of conservatives:

  • A Marxist-Leninist coup designed to bring down British culture and government. here.
  • Marrying your dog: Here.
  • Marrying your brother or sister. Here.
  • A father marrying his son for inheritance tax purposes.Here.
  • A generation of barbarians. Here.
  • God destroying the World Here.
  • Marrying your computer. Here.
  • The legalisation of child molestation. Here.
  • Making destroyed children commit all sorts of terrible crimes. Here.
  • Gay propaganda Disney films. here.
  • Granting special rights to people who sleep specifically with St Bernards. Here.
  • The 2008 Financial crash. Here.
  • Michael Savage puking, continuously. Here.
  • ‘Sexual anarchy’ that will destroy the soul of America. Here.
  • Marrying a lot of people. Here.
  • Everyone becoming gay and not having children, leading to human extinction. Here.
  • Churches forced to hire Satan Worshippers and Cross Dressers. Here.
  • Marrying a turtle, a goat, a duck, or a dolphin. Here.
  • Children’s minds being raped by a ‘homosexual mafia’. Here.
  • The normalisation of paedophilia. Here.
  • Poverty. Here.
  • The reason for the collapse of the Roman Empire and Weimar Republic. Here.
  • A lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir. Here.

    Strangely, none of this has happened in Canada, who legalised same-sex marriage in 2003 through the courts and 2005 nationwide. Perhaps the Marxist-Leninist, homosexual mafia like to wait over a decade before striking at the heart of the ‘soul’ of a nation and forcing churches to hire cross dressers.

    Once all of these grievances have been aired in public, conservatives then tend to get defensive. They insist, after all of that, that they aren’t the bigoted ones after all. Their hysteria, leads to defensiveness. We are trying to silence them, they shout, as if the rhetoric of a Marxist-Leninist coup of crossdressing Priests represents a genuine threat. I guess it is a coping mechanism for subconsciously accepting that their hysterical arguments are intensely ridiculous. They insist that it is in fact the pro-same sex marriage majority – with our pesky historical and scientific facts – who are the bigoted ones, for not taking seriously the idea that gay marriage will lead to marrying a computer, or cross dressing Satan worshippers leading Sunday prayers, or a lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir, or Jeremy Irons marrying his son, or a homosexual mafia raping children’s minds, or God destroying the World. And why would we not take those arguments seriously? They all seem mightily well thought out arguments to me. Hysterical conservatives. A gift that keeps on giving.


  • “…. as it proceeds from love so it cannot but end in love”

    May 25, 2013

    King James I

    King James I

    Parliamentary Tories this past week experienced a sort of renaissance of absurdity and bigotry, not really as noticeable on this scale since the Thatcher years. For example, Sir Gerald Howarth – self confessed ‘devoted to Thatcher‘ (and 1980s prejudices, apparently) – stood up to denounce the same-sex marriage bill as the work of “aggressive homosexuals” using it as a “stepping stone for something even further“. He didn’t elaborate on what “something even further” meant, or who the “aggressive homosexuals” specifically are. But he did show the World the intensely ridiculous lengths of a masterfully ignorant bigot, that we so woefully refer to as “Sir” will go to protect his prejudices.

    Then came the manic ramblings of old Norman Tebbit. Tebbit remains insistent that allowing a same-sex couple to marry, would eventually allow him to marry his son to avoid paying inheritance tax. I address the ridiculous use of the slippery slope fallacy with regard same-sex marriage here, so I wont repeat myself. But Tebbit’s finest moment in this debate came, when he suggested that the Bill may in fact lead to a lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir. Heaven forbid we have a Monarch who isn’t the result of slightly incestuous relationships.

    It would appear that Tebbit is under the impression that people are only gay, if they can get married…. and that a gay Monarch would in fact be completely heterosexual, if only gays aren’t allowed to marry. Or maybe he’s suggesting that the gay Monarch will hide his or her homosexuality, and marry someone of the opposite sex, to produce an heir. Living their whole life as a lie, which apparently, doesn’t undermine the sanctity of marriage in the minds of the swivel-eyed loons. Norman Tebbit is more suited to the court of King Henry VIII, obsessing over heirs, than he is to any time after the 1950s.

    Tebbit, as it turns out, in warning of a possible homosexual Monarch, is about 1000 years and about five Monarchs too late. The United Kingdom has had gay Monarchs in the past. Here are a few.

    The third son of William the Conqueror, William II of England, succeeded to the thrown with great expectation. He was the Tiberius to his father’s Augustus. The second in the line of Norman Kings that began in 1066. William II was a rather terrible King. He was considered a tyrant, and had an incredibly fiery temper. He never married, produced no offspring, and surrounded his court with “pretty young courtiers” – all men. It is claimed that he promoted male courtiers, based almost solely on how attractive he found them to be. Rumours of his homosexuality sparked harsh disagreements between his court, and the Church. Owing to the times, William was ridiculed for surrounding himself with long haired attractive male courtiers, so much so that Henry I, upon succeeding William, insisted that no male courtier be allowed long hair. Rumours of his homosexual relationships were rife at the time.

    In the graveyard of Hulton Abbey in Staffordshire, laid a decapitated body, belonging to a man named Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger. He was hung, drawn, and quartered following the overthrow of King Edward II by his wife Isabella in 1326. Despenser was married to Edward’s niece, Eleanor de Clare. This brought him close to Edward. He was considered a favourite of the King, joined him in battle, and was with him right until the end. The King reigned more and more favours and titles upon his nephew-in-law, leading to huge unrest with the nobility of the day. Despenser is also rumoured to be King Edward II’s gay lover. He wasn’t the first either. According to commentators of the day – including The Lanercost Chronicle – and some modern historians, posit that King Edward had been sexually linked to Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall, whose Royal patronage caused much upset during the reign. Gaveston’s biography, written by J.S. Hamilton, says:

    “there is no question that the king and his favorite were lovers.”

    Similarly, in “The Life and Times of Edward II” by Caroline Bingham, it is stated that when the not-yet-King, Edward was introduced to Gaveston for the first time, as youngsters:

    “….the king’s son saw him he fell so in love that he entered upon an enduring compact with him.”

    – There was a growing anger toward Edward’s treatment of both Gaveston, and Despenser. Queen Isabella noted that Despenser was a “sodomite“, and her jealousy is well documented.
    The Meaux Chronicle, written a couple of decades later, states that King Edward:

    “….took too much delight in sodomy.”

    – We can of course never prove that King Edward was gay, or was sexually involved with some of his male friends, but the rumours at the time, the discomfort the Queen felt toward the relationship between her husband and male companions, and subsequent writings and plays from Marlowe, all strongly suggest it to be true.

    It is rather ironic that those seeking to use the Bible to condemn homosexuality, may choose to do so by using the King James Bible, given that King James, is the only Monarch we can say with almost 100% certainty, that was gay. And a Monarch so dedicated to one of his lovers in particular, they would openly kiss in public, according to contemporaries at the Court of King James.
    In the book “A History of England” by James Franck Bright, we are told:

    “The first of his favourites was Robert Carr, for whom the King acquired a peculiar affection while he was lying wounded from an accident at a tournament. Carr had been his page in Scotland, and the King, feeling a natural interest in him, visited him and fell in love with his beauty.”

    – We then learn that the King has a falling out with Carr, complaining, among other things, in a letter to Carr that still survives that Carr had recently been:

    ….withdrawing yourself from lying in my chamber, notwithstanding my many hundred times earnest soliciting you to the contrary.”

    – After the downfall of Carr, King James seems to met, and fallen for George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. Villiers was known to be a handsome man, of high intelligence. He was a commoners, and elevated to the Dukedom by the King.
    In the early 2000s, the decaying Apethorpe Hall, a favourite of King James and the Duke of Buckingham was restored to past glories. During the restoration, a secret passageway was found, linking the King’s bedchamber, to the Dukes.
    During time spent apart, Letters between the two that still exist raced between the two, and represent rather beautifully written Renaissance letters of romance and sexual flirtation. In one, Buckingham states:

    “sir, all the way hither I entertained myself, your unworthy servant, with this dispute, whether you loved me now… better than at the time which I shall never forget at Farnham, where the bed’s head could not be found between the master and his dog”

    – The King is also prone to letters of romantic intrigue, sent to Buckingham on several occasions. In one, James writes, referring to Buckingham as his wife:

    “I desire only to live in this world for your sake… I had rather live banished in any part of the Earth with you than live a sorrowful widow’s life without you… God bless you, my sweet child and wife, and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear dad and husband”

    – In one particularly telling letter from King James to the Duke of Buckingham, James is extremely candid about the effect had on him, of their recent parting:

    “I am now so miserable a coward, as I do nothing but weep and mourn; for I protest to God I rode this afternoon a great way in the park without speaking to anybody and the tears trickling down my cheeks, as now they do that I can scarcely see to write. But alas, what shall I do at our parting? The only small comfort I can have will be to pry in thy defects with the eye of an enemy, and of every mote to make a mountain, and so harden my heart against thy absence. But this little malice is like jealousy, proceeding from a sweet root; but in one point it overcometh it, for as it proceeds from love so it cannot but end in love. Sweet heart, be earnest with Kate to come and meet thee at Newhall [Buckingham’s mansion in Essex] within eight or ten days after this.”

    – His jealousy, is out of love. His heart is hardened against his absence. The King refers to Buckingham as ‘sweet heart’. The passion and the love between the two is quite evident, and rather spectacular. I would recommend reading their correspondence. It is a wonderful story of romance, at a time when homosexuality was widely and violently condemned. On March 27th, 1625, King James died in his bedchamber, with George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, at his side.

    Rulers, not just in England, have been heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual throughout history. The only reason it is less discussed, and less historically provable, is because two of those three sexualities, have been oppressed so viciously for no other reason than religious doctrine. Rumours of homosexuality of rulers range from the Roman Emperors Nero, and Tiberius (the gender of a lover in Rome, was met with very little opposition, and far more indifference than much of the conservative party accept 2000 years later), to Emperor Jianwen of Liang, whose own poems speak of sexual liaisons with men. From Frederick the Great, to Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad. They range from Christendom, to Islamic societies, to the far reaches of the Chinese Empire. They do so, because the spectrum of sexuality is as natural and insuppressible as the spectrum of eye colour.

    Norman Tebbit is simply echoing the bigoted screams heard throughout the centuries from hysterical anti-gay voices that wish a monopoly on telling others who to love, based on religious fanaticism. What we can take from this, is that Medieval anti-homosexuality language such as “sodomy” and “sinning”, and the unwarranted stigma that this attaches to homosexuality, is still used today by those who have apparently decided to forego all social, neurological, and genetic advancement, and instead choose to cling to archaic views made popular by 13th Century Papists who we may say, had the excuse that they knew no better. Norman Tebbit, and others like him do not have that excuse.


    Lucy Meadows.

    March 21, 2013

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    Transmediawatch – community that works to improve media coverage of the transgendered community – today confirmed that Lucy Meadows, a transgendered woman about to start her first term back as a teacher at her beloved school, has been found dead, in an apparent suicide, weeks after The Daily Mail printed an article by notoriously nasty Richard Littlejohn, in which he mercilessly verbally tore her to pieces. Today, the Daily Mail pulled the article on its website, but it can, and should be seen here.

    The school that Lucy worked at, wrote to the parents of the children she taught over Christmas to inform them that Nathan Upton would be returning for Spring term after a life changing transition, and would now be referred to as Miss Meadows. Richard Littlejohn took exception to this, and endeavoured to expose a vulnerable person, already going through an incredibly difficult, life altering time, in a small, quiet community, to National media spotlight, and unprovoked, vicious, bigoted bullying.

    The particularly horrid little piece, by Littlejohn said:

    “He’s not only in the wrong body… he’s in the wrong job.”

    “Nathan Upton is now in the early stages of gender reassignment treatment. He issued a statement which read: ‘This has been a long and difficult journey for me and it was certainly not an easy decision to make.’
    So that’s all right, then. From now on, kiddies, Mr Upton will be known as Miss Lucy Meadows.
    What are you staring at, Johnny? Move along, nothing to see here. Get on with your spelling test. Today’s word is ‘transitioning’.”

    “Mr Upton/Miss Meadows may well be comfortable with his/her decision to seek a sex-change and return to work as if nothing has happened. The school might be extremely proud of its ‘commitment to equality and diversity’.
    But has anyone stopped for a moment to think of the devastating effect all this is having on those who really matter? Children as young as seven aren’t equipped to compute this kind of information.”

    “Why should they be forced to deal with the news that a male teacher they have always known as Mr Upton will henceforth be a woman called Miss Meadows?”

    “The school shouldn’t be allowed to elevate its ‘commitment to diversity and equality’ above its duty of care to its pupils and their parents.
    It should be protecting pupils from some of the more, er, challenging realities of adult life, not forcing them down their throats.”

    “By insisting on returning to St Mary Magdalen’s, he is putting his own selfish needs ahead of the well-being of the children he has taught for the past few years.”

    “They will lose their innocence soon enough.”

    – There are so many problems with this, it’s difficult to know where to start. It makes you sit, jaw on the floor, that such needless and undeserved prejudices, presented in such a callous, and demeaning way, are still prevalent in 21st Century, beautifully diverse, Britain. The rhetorical devices used to perpetuate such bigotry are quite astonishing. He begins by whimsically tearing into the mention of her personal struggle in her statement. Constant reference to Lucy as “he“, insisting that children (the most vulnerable people, and an easy target for those wishing to manipulate the emotions of their readers) need “protecting” from someone who has done no wrong, and is injuring no person, and who just wishes to teach. By saying “they will lose their innocence soon enough” he is suggesting that Lucy was a threat to that innocence. His article is accompanied by pictures of Lucy as a man. It also includes the letter sent to parents, and tells us that the subject of Lucy’s change, was “buried at the bottom“. The letter itself, has just seven lines of information above the the bit about Lucy. It isn’t “buried” anywhere. It is treated sensitively, and respectfully, and not as a big deal, and rightfully so. The Daily Mail is not concerned with ‘the children’, they are concerned with providing a platform for bigotry to flourish, masking it behind a thin veil of ‘respectability’ of the feigned concern for the welfare of ‘the children’.

    I will simply say this, if children are “exposed” to the harmless diversity of life that Littlejohn finds so offensive, throughout their lives, perhaps they will grow up considering such diversity to be exactly as it is; an inoffensive, non-problematic natural fact of life. Perhaps then, those children that grow up feeling “different”, perhaps feeling as if they were born the wrong gender, will find it less challenging, and less scared to be who they are, because society no longer attaches such Littlejohn-esque stigma. Perhaps then the needless stigma – stigma that can and has had such devastating consequences – will slowly become non-existent, erased from our collective thoughts, and the prejudices that Littlejohn is happy to perpetuate in such a vicious way, illegitimate prejudices he isn’t interested in challenging or eradicating, will be considered as dirty and as wrong as discrimination based on race. Defeating such needless and harmful prejudice, starts with education. It continues with media responsibility; a responsibility that does not extend to publishing degrading and humiliating deep personal issues of one individual, exposing her to abuse, and for the entire World to see.

    The only reason there is such stigma attached to transgender community, is because the “difference” is both preyed upon, presented in amplified negative tones, with rhetoric cloaked in fear, by people like Richard Littlejohn. This is what children should be educated to find offensive and threatening.

    My thoughts are with the family and the friends, and the children she simply wished to educate, of Lucy Meadows.

    EDIT:

    The Sun, following in the footsteps of the Mail, and seemingly learning none of the lessons that led to such a tragedy, uses horribly negative language to further attack Miss Meadows, even after her death. The article can be seen here. They do not mention the hounding by the Mail, nor Littlejohn’s column. They simply and subtly blame Lucy:

    “The 32-year-old — believed to be in the early stages of gender reassignment — sparked outrage when he announced his sex change.”

    – This is presented, as if Lucy brought the harassment on herself. It is then followed up immediately by quotes from outraged parents, as if that legitimises the prejudice. They then, rather horrendously sent a reporter to her house, and still refused to call her by her name:

    “Tonight a friend who answered the door at Nathan’s terraced home in Accrington refused to comment.”

    – In other words, if you too are facing such life changing worries, you will ‘spark outrage’, parents will be disgusted by you, and the media will refuse to afford you the respect of calling you by your name or referring to you as the gender that you truly are, even in death, and reporters who hounded you in the first place, will now hound your grieving friend and family for a comment. To them, you are a piece of sensationalism waiting to sell papers.

    Utterly shameful.


    The Callous Smile of Cardinal Turkson

    February 25, 2013

    401px-Cardinal_Tukson_987
    As the white smoke billows out from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, the World will be waiting to know who will be the man (not woman, that apparently, would be wrong) to take on the enormous challenges the Catholic Church currently faces.

    One of the leading candidate to replace Pope Benedict, as the new Pontiff, is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana. The media outlets love him on account of him not being European, or white. He may very well be the first black Pope, given that the Church will be under a lot of pressure to outwardly appear as if it is modernising in any way, and the election of another old, white, European is not likely to help that cause. However, the news media appears to be ignoring Turkson as a person, instead choosing to focus almost all of its attention on his ethnicity. His ethnicity must be noted, is irrelevant. The content of his character, and the beliefs he will bring with him to such a powerful position during a time of immense crises, are the key factors. And so this leaves the question, who is Peter Turkson?

    Standing in front of the African Union Summit in January of 2012, Ban Ki-Moon asked all African Nations to stop prosecuting people for homosexuality, and to repeal all laws criminalising it, in accordance with the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana was not happy with this, and gave his response, not so subtly insisting that he does not believe that gay people should be afforded the same human rights as straight people:

    We push for the rights of prisoners, the rights of others, and the last thing we want to do is infringe upon the rights of anyone. But when you’re talking about what’s called ‘an alternative lifestyle,’ are those human rights? Ban Ki-moon needs to recognize there’s a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that’s what needs to be clarified.

    – He is quick to tell us that the Catholic Church defends ‘the rights of others’, but this does not extend to gay people, and those apparently aren’t worthy of the human rights his Church believes in. And so, instead of outright condemning the horrifying anti-gay laws which includes the death penalty, and even extradition back to Uganda for Ugandans known to be gay, outside of Uganda. This stigmatising (with ridiculous terms like “an alternative lifestyle” – alternative to what? I consider Catholicism to be an ‘alternative lifestyle’ to mine) has lead to newspapers and magazines in Uganda (wishing to win favour with the government) publishing the names and addresses of gay people in the country next to the headline “Hang them”. In other words, if you are Ugandan, you are trapped, in perpetual fear for your life. The Catholic Church itself opposes the anti-gay bill, and condemned it. Cardinal Peter Turkson suggested that the law that basically calls for a genocide against gay people, must be weighed against the rights of straight Ugandans to express their ‘culture’. As if the right to oppress, is a legitimate right that must be respected:

    “Just as there’s a sense of a call for rights, there’s also a call to respect culture.”

    His defence of violent African laws against homosexuality continues. His most bizarre rant came when asked about the child sex scandal that has engulfed the Catholic Church over the past few years. He doesn’t think the maybe blame the sexually repressed framework on which the Catholic Church operates, or anything else that might be considered a legitimate critique of the crises, instead, he decides it’s the fault of homosexuality is what leads to paedophilia:

    “…African traditional systems kind of protect or have protected its population against this tendency (child abuse) a little bit. Because in several communities, in several cultures in Africa homosexuality or for that matter any affair between two sexes of the same kind are not countenanced in our society, so that cultural, if you want, the taboo that traditionally has been there, has served to keep this out.”

    – Here, he is suggesting three things. Firstly, the ridiculous and totally unfounded idea that homosexuality is linked to paedophilia, perpetuation an even deeper stigmatisation of homosexuality, that the Catholic Church has been intrinsic in defining over the decades. And secondly, he weaves in another defence of African anti-gay laws, as if they are beneficial to society. And lastly, that the child abuse scandal, could not possibly happen in Africa, because the anti-gay laws prevent such a thing. Here, he is building on remarks already made by Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan President. Museveni said:

    “Before we came in touch with the Europeans, we had some few homosexuals…. Africans are by nature discreet people… We never exhibit our sexual acts in public. I have for instance never kissed my wife in public… The problem is exhibitionism… The second problem is trying to lure young children into homosexuality.”

    – The ignorance is shocking. Museveni and Turkson are of the same belief that homosexuality, is the cause of child abuse. And apparently, that any show of affection, is a ‘problem’. Both of which (not being completely heterosexual, and showing affection in public), he believes are imported from European colonisation; the white man. The Cardinal, and the President of Uganda, believe that child abuse is caused by gay white people from Europe. Is it possible to be more absurd?

    They appear to conveniently ignore the fact that one of the main causes of the spread of AIDs in young girls and women in African nations, is rape. By men. With girls. In fact, in 2007 Amnesty International reported that the Ugandan government was both covering up and supporting systematic rape of young girls. The report notes:

    “Violence against women is endemic throughout Uganda”

    – The Lord’s Resistance Army in the north of Uganda at the time, were responsible for kidnapped and forcing young girls into sexual slavery. Victims claim that Ugandan government officials, members of the police, and members of the judiciary in Uganda had abused them. One in four women, the report notes, say their first sexual encounter, was forced. All of this is glossed over as the President of Uganda, and the horrendous Cardinal Turkson stand atop their self-made moral ground, working tirelessly to keep up their ‘cultural tradition’ of stigmatising an innocent, and harmless section of the population they so instinctively hate.

    He then turns his attention goes on to providing us with his reasons for why he isn’t a fan of reproductive rights for women, meaning contraception and abortion:

    “There will be a racist agenda behind all of this”

    “….The program being pushed does not reflect the true situation of women in the Third World, It derives from a certain thinking that you deal with poverty by eliminating the poor.”

    – Cardinal Turkson believes those outside of Africa whom support condom use and are pro-choice, simply wish to de-populate the black population of Africa. Perhaps so we can take over, open the gates to all the gay, white child molesters.

    So, that’s homophobic, racist, and anti-women’s rights. If this is the modernisation of the Catholic Church, it looks eerily similar to the pre-modernised Catholic Church.

    When one of the most senior Cardinals in the Catholic Church, and one of the favourites for the Papacy spreads such vicious and bigoted senseless deceptions, further stigmatising a section of humanity who already face such oppressive measures that the Cardinal just wishes we’d all ‘respect’, it is little wonder that the Church, as an institution, is so widely disliked. View the grin on his face, whilst imagining the horror that a person in Uganda faces simply for being a sexuality that the Cardinal does not like; the violence he or she must face, and possible death. The smile suddenly becomes chilling, and callous and built on bigotry, and that is exactly how this awful man should be viewed. Electing this man to the Papacy would be an intolerable step backward, for an Institution already so far back, we need a telescope to see it.